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From Jeff Jacobs at CT Now/Hartford Courant: Quinnipiac: Becoming A Giant: AD Jack McDonald’s Vision Is Turning Into Reality

“I’m the luckiest AD on the planet. Our programs, the medical school, the law school, Now, people use the words ‘up and coming.’ It is one of the hottest schools, athletically, academically, career-wise in the region. And today, today is a great step.”

St. Patrick’s Day would be a great Sunday for McDonald. After the “Irish Eyes are Miling” run in Cheshire, he would watch the fans storm Lender Court in celebration. Three hours later, the fans went crazy as the Bobcats pulled the goalie in the closing moments, tied the final game of ECAC quarterfinal series against Cornell at 2 and won it 3-2 with 5:52 left in double overtime on a goal by Kevin Bui.

Also out of Connecticut: Carl Adamec says, “Planting NCAA seeds takes some guesswork

You don’t need a degree from ESPNU to be a bracketologist.

Some knowledge is required, yes, but it’s the love of the game that qualifies you. So please join us. It’s time to stand up and be counted. Your guess is as good as anyone’s, including ESPN’s.

The 64 women’s basketball teams that will take part in the NCAA tournament will be announced Monday at 7 p.m. There are a lot of things we know and a lot of things we don’t. But trying to figure it out is where all the fun comes in.

Charlie discusses Things to look for Monday night – ESPN’s NCAA Selection Special is at 7 ET; coverage continues on ESPNU at 8 ET

Even as the final bracket projection was put together this weekend, some of the questions that popped up throughout the season still lingered. How the selection committee answers them will go a long way toward determining what the NCAA tournament bracket looks like when it’s unveiled on Selection Monday (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET, with continued coverage on ESPNU at 8 p.m. ET).

Here are the questions I’m most anxious to see answered Monday night.

The Rebkellian beknighted takes a shot at the Dancers using RPI

Full Court has a question (that might upset Bridgeport, CT folks): Will principles or profit guide NCAA bracketing?

it would be a surprise to nearly everyone involved in women’s basketball if the top four seeds are not Baylor, Notre Dame, Connecticut and Stanford in pretty much that order, as they have been the consensus top four for most, if not all, of the season.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there won’t be a very big question mark surrounding the bracketing of the four heavyweights. Because while most assume that UConn will be holding court in the Bridgeport, Conn., Regional, just as they have played at or near their home floor in the early and regional rounds for the past several years, it will take a major piece of legerdemain for the Selection Committee to get them there this year.

Also at Full Court, Paul White: Mid-Majors hold to script, for the most part

Players on NCAA Tournament bubble teams can breathe a bit easier after this week’s conclusion of the mid-major postseason tournaments.

Losses by St. Joseph’s (Atlantic 10), Green Bay (Horizon) and Delaware (Colonial Athletic) – as well as perhaps even Quinnipiac (Northeast) – in conference tournament finals would have provided NCAA Tournament bids to teams that would not have gotten in otherwise. All favorites prevailed, though, so bubble team supporters don’t have to chew on those fingernails quite so viciously in advance of Monday’s Selection Show.

Speaking of Mid-Majors, Lady Swish gives Hampton their due: Four–ward progress – Hampton does it again

David Six keeps insisting that when the 2012-13 Hampton Lady Pirates first assembled last fall, they weren’t very good.

Sure didn’t take ’em long to catch on. Or catch fire. Or leave the rest of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in their wake once again.

In a never-in-doubt MEAC title game, the Lady Pirates smoked Howard 59-38 Saturday at the Norfolk Scope to complete a perfect conference schedule – 16-0 regular season; 3-0 tournament – claim their fourth straight conference crown and book yet another ticket to the NCAA Tournament. 

“I’m not going to say where we should be seeded, but I don’t think we’re a 15 or 16 seed,” said Six, who along with many others felt Hampton was underseeded at 16 last season. “I haven’t seen all the other teams play, but we’ve got some quality wins. I certainly don’t think we’re a 15, 16. I think 13 is fair.

Matt Sussman at Hustle Belt says,“Watch out for Central Michigan”:

CMU always had potential. They had a litany of good nonconference wins, perhaps the best collection in all of the MAC. They just had one too many conference losses which forced them into the quarterfinals instead of the semis. Then they got to work; a 33-point victory over Bowling Green, a second win against Toledo and now this masterpiece over the Zips.

Richard Kent at Swish Appeal has Five teams to watch in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

As we ponder and wonder what’s going to happen tonight and consider the future of the tournament, a little flashback:

2007: The NCAA Selection Committee: Opening the Vault and Looking Inside

Every year the (now) “Tuesday Night Quarterbacking” that follows Division I’s “Selection Monday” becomes a passionate exercise in “what ifs” and “how comes.” Depending on a coach’s relationship to those fortunate 64 teams, discussions can be fraught with emotion or wrapped in an almost scientific detachment. Most years one can guarantee the focus of people’s dissatisfaction will either be on the teams selected or on the make up of the brackets.

But last year, in a sort of basketball “perfect storm,” the ire was aimed at both. What followed was a firestorm (and some mocking) in the press and barbed comments from coaches about who got in, who got left out, why so many tops seeds were put in one region, why a top seed should play on a lower seed’s de facto home court, and on and on.

“It got a lot of attention,” reflected Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson, in perhaps the understatement of the season.

2009: NCAA TOURNAMENT HOSTING: Hidden Hurdles and Helpful Hints

As college basketball moves into its season of review and reflection, doubtless there will be many discussions about the 2009  Division Itournament and the logistics of seeding, the needs of hosting, the restrictions of television and the current economic reality.

But as the women’s game seeks to strike the balance between a competitively balanced tournament and a well-attended one, we would be remiss to not examine the successes and challenges faced by the host institutions themselves. What lessons were learned and how might they be applied to games and tournaments across the Divisions?

Full Court’s John McGraw and Trevor Goodson are in Frankfort, Kentucky where Defense gets it done in NAIA Elite 8

Most of the time when teams fail to put points on the board in basketball, the outcome is considered ugly.  This was not the case as the top eight teams in the NAIA squared off for a chance to go the prestigious “Fab Four”, the NAIA version of the Final Four.  No team managed more than 63 points which happened when Cumberland (TN) barely edged Lubbock Christian (TX) 63-61.   Earlier in the day Westminster (UT) and Westmont (CA) combined for 75 (39-36) points in what was the lowest scoring game in NAIA tournament history.  These were great games though, games that any basketball junkie would have enjoyed because the defense on display was a close to perfect as possible. 

In other W news, Jayda talk with Sue Bird about her knee surgery

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Ethnicity report reveals impact of NCAA diversity efforts

The NCAA’s Race and Gender Demographics Report for 2009-10 shows significant increases in the number of administrative personnel in the last 15 years, primarily because of increases in NCAA membership but also because of expanding staffs at individual schools to reflect the growth in athletics participation overall (more than 430,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA sports now compared to about 330,000 in 1995).

Those increases appear to be good news for women and minorities. For example, there were 142 more athletics directors in 2009-10 than in 1995-96. But of that increase, women gained 58 positions and ethnic minority males 27. White males gained 57.

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From C&R:

March 18th- Are you Smarter than C and R? (Year 2)

Okay, we said that last year and most of you WERE smarter than C and R when it came to picking the top women’s basketball teams in the country. Well, smarter than C, she bombed the bracket, but R did well.

Let’s just find out how much you know about women’s basketball and the their NCAA tournament. Women Talk Sports is sponsoring a group bracket on ESPN’s website.

Last year Women Talk Sports offered prizes, so not sure if they will this year. But ESPN is offering $2,000 and $1,000 gift cards. Test yourself against C and R (and other Women Talk Sports members).

Join and complete the bracket by SATURDAY, MARCH 19TH. Tell your family and friends to join!

I am listed as “Stanford.C” and R is “Stanford.R” Unoriginal I know, but this way you will know who is crushing you!

Sign up Today!

Important Women’s Basketball Links

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From Mark Anskis at the NCAA: Sportsmanship reigns in Swarthmore-Bryn Mawr game

The special and sportsmanlike moment came in Swarthmore’s designated “Pink Zone” game to support breast-cancer awareness. Adding to the aura were school Presidents Rebecca Chopp of Swarthmore and Jane McAuliff of Bryn Mawr, who served as honorary coaches of their respective teams to show collective support for the breast-cancer cause.

Bodur, who entered the game with 999 career points after suffering a career-ending knee injury in a Jan. 29 victory over Gettysburg, scored an uncontested layup after the tip-off to become just the eighth player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

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From the NCAA: Gender-equity forum registration available online

After a year of high activity by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which has issued two new Title IX letters of guidance, as well as important court decisions in athletics cases, the NCAA’s Office of Inclusion is inviting NCAA staff and faculty to attend the annual Gender Equity Forum. Registration for the NCAA Gender Equity Forum May 1-3 in Bethesda, Maryland, is available online.

The fee for NCAA institutional and conference staff members and NCAA affiliate organizations is $300, which includes all sessions, hotel accommodations for three nights and most meals. If an attendee doesn’t stay in the hotel where the conference is held, the fee is $125.

World-renown equity expert Donna Lopiano and organizational leaders and legal advisors are among the presenters who will address issues affecting women in intercollegiate sports. Attendees will be encouraged to actively participate in the sessions, which are designed to provide in-depth analysis of issues and practical solutions.

The agenda features instruction on all Title IX topics, including understanding the law and best practices for compliance. Sessions will include a variety of topics such as sexual harassment law and prevention, fundraising for women’s sports, equal pay policy, and student-athlete well-being and behavior. The NCAA’s emerging sports program and interest from the new sports of Acrobatics and Tumbling and Stunt will be a featured session. A roundtable luncheon with a variety of topics and networking reception also will occur on May 2.

For the first time the Forum will be preceded by a NACWAA Regional Executive Leadership Seminar, starting April 30th, offering NACWAA members professional development programming and networking opportunities.

The primary NCAA resource – the NCAA Gender Equity Manual – is available online and has recently been updated to include information about new case decisions and OCR enforcement activity.

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An important history lesson from the NCAA that captures some of the passion and heartbreak that was the NCAA’s 1981 takeover of women”s championships from the AIAW. (Though there’s not a lot of discussion of how the NCAA fought tooth and nail against Title IX)

Charlotte West, an AIAW supporter and administrator at Southern Illinois, said she was “uncomfortable” throughout the debate. Grant had perhaps one of the most emotional speeches of the Convention, pleading with the delegates for “simple fairness” and “adherence to the concept that those to be governed have a right to directly determine by whom they are governed.”

“This is an opportunity for you to send a message to the leadership of this organization, and to the hundreds of women who cannot speak for themselves, that you will not take the women against their will,” she said.

Grant and fellow AIAW loyalists reported hearing pockets of booing in the crowd while they spoke and finding ugly caricatures of themselves scribbled on slips of scratch paper. (Frank and others deny hearing boos, saying the conduct in their immediate area was professional.)

“We all like people to get along, and goodness knows we had very different points of view in the AIAW,” West said. “We’d get up and argue, and you might vote one way and I’d vote another, but we were still very close colleagues. It was an entirely different feeling on the NCAA Convention floor. It was us against them.”

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— just ask Delta State.

Clearly my good wishes caused the Lady Statesmen to lose to Harding U by three, and as a consequence, they tumbled from first to fourth in the NCAA DII Coaches’ Poll. Sorry about that, kids.

Lander University (SC) claims the top spot with their 17-0 record, followed by Arkansas Tech, Clayton State (Ga) and Fort Lewis (CO) tucked behind Delta in the fifth spot.

In NCAA DIII poll, Amherst’s loss to Kean (NJ) also dropped them from first to fourth. A familiar name, Hope College (MI), rules the roost, followed by Thomas More (KY) and Kean. Babson (MA) comes in at #5.

In NAIA Division I, that’s 41 straight weeks in the top spot for Union (TN). They’re followed by Oklahoma City, Campbellsville (KY), Freed-Hardeman (TN) and Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

There was some movement in the NAIA Division II poll, but not at the top, which is where you’ll find Iowa’s Davenport. Then it’s Northwestern (IA),  Sioux Falls (SD), Morningside (IA), and Saint Francis (IN.) and Black Hills State (SD) tied at No. 5.

So, what are the top 5 in NJCAA, you ask?

Pensacola State College (19-0)
Trinity Valley Community College (17-0)
Vincennes University (12-2)
Jefferson College (14-1)
Independence Community College (16-0)

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